Remember how we said patch 8.18 was the last balance update before LoL Worlds 2018? Yeah, we might’ve jumped the gun on that one. Enter patch 8.19, the actual last balance update before the 2018 League of Legends World Championship. 8.19 brings a good number of changes to the game, and while most of them don’t seem huge at first glance, they will be sure to reshape the competitive meta.
Darius Gets More Damage
There’s a reason why Darius isn’t a staple pick in pro play. The Hand of Noxus can be incredibly powerful when used as a counter pick, but he can also fall apart in an unfavorable matchup. Which makes it all the more surprising that Riot Games decided to emphasize his strengths without addressing his weaknesses. Darius’s Crippling Strike [W] now deals 10% extra total attack damage and Apprehend [E] gets 5% extra passive armor penetration at all ranks. With that, Darius will be much more effective at pushing his edge against tanks, but ultimately, he will still be in that niche counter pick territory.
It’s been a long time since we’ve last seen Kha’Zix. The predatory bug disappeared from the Summoner’s Rift ever since its ultimate was reworked, but the patch 8.19 buffs might finally bring it back to the jungle pool. Kha’s passive—the Unseen Threat—now grants 0.4 bonus attack damage instead of 0.2, and evolved Void Spike [W] applies a much stronger slow (20% more vs non-isolated targets and 10% more vs isolated targets). Of course, this won’t make Kha’Zix the same menace that he used to be before the ult changes. But this is a good way to make carry-oriented player consider the Voidreaver when all S-tier junglers are banned.
Elise is Back?
The trend of jungler changes continues with Elise. Now, the cooldown on Skittering Frenzy [W] is 10 seconds at all ranks (down from 12), and the cooldown on Rappel [E] is 22/21/20/19/18 (down from 26/24/22/20/18). Most fans will naturally turn to the Rappel changes since this ability turned the Spider Queen into the bane of every top laner in the past. But Elise rarely—if ever—used the spell more than once during her ganks and a 4-second cooldown reduction won’t change her trading patterns. And while it’s nice to have Skittering Frenzy available for faster clear speed, it still remains to be seen whether Elise can stand up to the meta junglers.
J4 Passive Change
It’s no secret that Jarvan IV has been in a weird spot lately. The Exemplar of Demacia is definitely strong enough to be used in pro play, but he lacks the raw firepower that S-tier meta picks bring to the table. Riot is looking to change that by making his passive—Martial Cadence—have a 6-second cooldown at all levels (down from 10/8/6 seconds at level 1/7/13). This might not sound like much at first, but dealing 8% of target’s current health as bonus damage every 6 seconds is huge for Jarvan’s clear speed. Moreover, this will make the Demacian prince much better at trading with tanks, which might be the start of the J4 top meta.
Thresh Hook Buffs
Ever since champions like Rakan and Pyke were introduced to the game, Thresh went from one of the best supports in the game to an obscure counter pick. Well, the Chain Warden may be in for a triumphant return because the cooldown on his Death Sentence [Q] was reduced from 20/18/16/14/12 to 16/15/14/13/12. The mana cost was also bumped down from 80 to 60, so throwing out hooks will be less punishing in lane. Granted, this doesn’t mean Thresh will be the most played support at Worlds 2018, but players who have already mastered his kit will definitely find a way to exploit this buff.
Pyke Gets Better Ult
Unfortunately for Thresh, Pyke has also received a buff on patch 8.19. A bit of extra damage on Death From Below [R] in the early/mid stages of the game might not look like much, but Pyke already has a massively overloaded kit. And even the smallest of buffs can make him overtuned.
Tahm Kench Lose Durability
Speaking of overtuned, meet Tahm Kench. The River King remained in the competitive meta despite getting hit by a massive Devour [W] nerf in patch 8.18. He’s just way too forgiving of a champion, which makes him a perfect support for most hypercarries. Well, things are about to change because Tahm’s base health was reduced from 610 to 540! And even though Riot somewhat made up for the nerf by bumping up his health growth stat, Tahm Kench will still be much more vulnerable in the laning phase.
Linadry’s Torment Buff
Still, one of the biggest patch 8.19 changes doesn’t deal with champions at all. Liandry’s Torment lost 5 AP, but now its procs deal 0.5% more maximum HP damage per tick, which makes the item even more effective at shredding tanks. And considering it’s already a standard purchase on picks like Rumble and Malzahar, tanks will have a hard time standing up for themselves at LoL Worlds 2018.
That’s it for the top changes of the League of Legends patch 8.19! You can check the complete patch notes here, and we’ll see you on the Summoner’s Rift!